Given my experience from tradie to real estate agent, identifying key areas for preparing an established home is something I find relatively easy. I have also renovated a number of older homes in my time, which gives me good insight and knowledge on how to prepare your older home to sell.
The following are a few things you can do to ensure you present the property in its best light for buyers and to minimise contract disruptions.
Paint, paint, paint!
9 times out of 10 established houses need to be re-painted prior to sale or lease. This is especially important for timber homes and homes that have large feature walls both inside and out. Large painted surfaces can stick out like a sore thumb if the paintwork looks faded and worn.
A fresh coat of paint goes a long way with presentation. Neutral paint tones appeal to a wide range of tastes and look fresh. Paint also has the power to add light to a dark room. Avoid bold paint colours where possible but if the room needs a point of interest, use a feature print, blanket, or vase instead. Painting can be a relatively easy job but if you’re not confident in painting a house, seek the advice of a professional. There are painters who will do the cutting in (door frames, windows and corners) and intricate parts as well as painting tips on how to roll the large areas, so you can do the finishing bits yourself and save a bit of money.
Check your ceilings and roof for leaks and water damage. Small leaks over time can create big problems in your roof cavity. Most the time we are focused on the mess down low or cleaning kitchen bench tops and we don’t realise what’s happening above. Even if the issue is fixed, old water damage stains on ceilings and surrounds can often scare away most buyers away and possibly devalue the price during a buyer negotiation. Furthermore, some insurance may be void for contents if there are outstanding roof leaks or issues. If you are repairing an old water leak, you may also need to engage a professional plasterer and painter so that the job looks seamless and doesn’t attract buyer attention due to poor repair workmanship.
If you have a highset house on stumps make sure you take your time to look at the condition of your stumps. If they are wood stumps, you’re looking for wood rot, termites and movement. Houses on stumps move; go around and look for signs of movement including sagging of support beams and timbers that are also disconnected from the stump or frame. If your stumps are not in good condition, it may lead to further structural issues. Your local builder will be able to help either replace or repair stumps that need attention. You can also look at lifting the house if you are trying to create additional space under the property. Steel stumps also need attention. Ensuring that timber and debris is removed from around the footing and also base of the post will reduce the risk of rusting and termite attack.
Consider an Electrical Inspection Upfront
Our Principal Alicia Williams wrote an article recently on why sellers should consider getting a Building and Pest inspection done upfront. You can read that article HERE.
However, as a trade qualified electrician, I would also recommend doing an electrical inspection prior to sale for established homes. This applies to both owner occupied and tenanted properties. While it is easy to turn on a switch and see if an appliance or fitting works or not, it’s not clear if its working efficiently. Hot water systems, stoves, ovens and air-conditioners are big ticket items that are known to cause issues in a property transaction. As a seller, it’s better to know about these issues prior to sale then having the added stress during a contract, especially if the property is leased or the owner lives out of town.
Sending a little bit of time and money before listing your home, can give you peace-of-mind afterwards.